Random Bibliography Experiment

You can learn about anything from anything.

Well, that’s the hypothesis. That meaningful ideas on any topic can emerge from any learning experience, and combinations of experiences



What do we do to learn about something new? Search our memories, search Google (that knows our previous searches); key texts, go-to people, Facebook networks… In this way, ‘bibliographies’, in the broadest sense, are limited.

Then there’s all our filters and biases, and our minds desperately trying to construct coherent stories, causing all sorts of mental mischief and cognitive overconfidence!

This is the same for our everyday understanding of the world and for formal learning – individually and collectively. On a macro level we get stuck in paradigms.

So, what to do? Embrace the power of randomness.


Random Bibliography - or TIKIOGRAPHY? (Biblio = book) (Tiki = random, luck)

The Basics

Best done as a group

1. Choose a research question or theme (One for all works well)

2. Think about how you'll generate learning experiences (Get radical and wild)

3. Generate random experiences for your ‘bibliography’

4. Act on your ‘bibliography’

5. Record / reflect on learning, and share and learn together


It’s simple, widely applicable, and has loads of spin off benefits. Aside from learning about the issue at hand, it helps us see learning everywhere; get a feel for the interconnected nature of things, bust out of the echo chamber and liberate us from choice. Choice can bring anxiety - throw it to the wind and go random!


There's a lot of value in the standalone process, but there's also a case for an injection of something like this into wider education or learning programmes.

Learning is evolutionary - building on what has gone before with a process of selection according to what fits our 'environment'. But evolution also needs mutations to push things forward. A bit of random learning could go a long way.

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